Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The First Tech Day at NERGC

The Tech Day events today were a great prequel to the 2013 NERGC conference in Manchester, New Hampshire.  I was thoroughly fascinated by the lectures, and the time flew.  I also met dozens of new people, from places as close as the Manchester Public Library to Washington State.  Everyone enjoyed NERGC’s very first Tech Day program, which was attended by about 150 people.  In the next room over, Librarians and Teachers were enjoying their own set of lectures and talks.

Stephen P. Morse

We heard from Dr. Stephen P. Morse twice.  If you haven’t used his “One Step” searchpages for Ellis Island and other genealogy websites, you are missing out on a true technical marvel.  Steve Morse holds degrees in electrical engineering, and is the architect of the Intel 8086 chip which made the first desktop IBM PCs available in the 1970s. In his first lecture he explained the concept of Deep Linking, and how he used that to make his internet searching website.  In his afternoon lecture he explained the Beider Morse Phonetic Name Matching Algorithm used by search engines inside websites such as Ellis Island and Sephardic Gen. The story behind the invention of these technical tools was fascinating, and too long to tell here in a blog.  If you ever have the chance to hear Dr. Morse, take advantage!

There was an interruption in the afternoon session when we first heard the perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombings had been caught, and then it was announced to be a false alarm. For the home town crowd, we were on pins and needles for a few moments.

New Hampshire’s own genealogist Laura Prescott presented a lecture on Publishing Your Genealogy Online.  She gave examples of free and low cost ways of showing your research on the internet.  Unfortunately, none of the vendors of these products will be at the NERGC Expo, such as Ancestry, TNG or Legacy.  She also showed a few screenshots of the new FamilySearch website, which changed only yesterday.  I played with the new site a little last night, and it is very different looking, but all the same search features are in the same places.  Be sure to check it out yourself.

Josh Taylor presents the Family House game

FindMyPast was the sponsor of TechDay, and presented the luncheon.  Josh Taylor, brightsolid’s business development manager, presented a corporate background of all the products in the brightsolid family tree, such as Scotland’s People, FindMyPast, Genes Reunited and a new game at the website    He also spoke at the end of the afternoon on tools and methods of sharing genealogy online, including wikis, cloud computing, and other tools. 

The Expo was not open yet today, but I was able to register so I could skip that step first thing tomorrow morning.  Maybe I can sleep in a little bit later. I have to stay at NERGC until evening since I’ll be representing the New Hampshire Mayflower Society at the society fair tomorrow night.

New England Regional Genealogy Conference

Steve Morse's Webpages

Laura Prescott, genealogist 

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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